Ashta Lakshmi

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Ashta Lakshmi
Ashthalakshmi - Star of Laxmi.svg
The Star of Lakshmi is used in Hinduism to symbolize Ashtalakshmi, the eight forms of wealth.
Devanagari अष्टलक्ष्मी
Sanskrit transliteration aṣṭalakṣmī
Affiliation The 8 forms of Devi Lakshmi
Abode Vaikuntha
Planet Venus
Mantra Om aim hreem shreem mahalaxmi namo namha
Weapon varies on each form
Mount Owl, Elephant
Consort Vishnu

Ashta Lakshmi (Sanskrit: अष्टलक्ष्मी, IAST: Aṣṭalakṣmī; lit. "Eight Lakshmis") or Ashtalakshmi are a group of eight manifestations of Devi Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. She presides over eight sources of wealth:[1] "Wealth" in the context of Ashta-Lakshmi means prosperity, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny, and power.[2]

The Ashta Lakshmi are always depicted and worshipped in a group in temples.[3]

Etymology and Iconography[edit]

The prayer "Shri Ashta Lakshmi Stotram" lists all of the Ashta Lakshmi's[1] All of the Ashta Lakshmi's are depicted as seated on a lotus.

Adi/Maha Lakshmi[edit]

Adi Lakshmi & Dhana Lakshmi

Adi Lakshmi or Maha Lakshmi ("Primeval Lakshmi" or "Great Lakshmi") is an ancient form of Lakshmi.[3] She is an incarnation of Lakshmi as the daughter of the sage Bhrigu.[2]

She is depicted as four-armed, carrying a lotus and a white flag, other two arms in Abhaya mudra and varada mudra.

Dhana Lakshmi[edit]

Dhana Lakshmi ("Money Lakshmi"), is the goddess of wealth.[3]

She is depicted as four-armed, in red garments, and carrying a chakra (discus), shankha (conch), kalasha (water pitcher with mango leaves and a coconut on top) or Amrita kumbha (a pitcher containing the elixir of life), bow and arrow, a lotus and her arm in abhaya mudra with wealth in the form of gold raining down from it.

Dhanya Lakshmi[edit]

Dhanya Lakshmi & Gaja Lakshmi

Dhanya Lakshmi ("Grain Lakshmi") is the goddess of agricultural wealth.[3]

She is depicted as eight-armed, in green garments, carrying two lotuses, gada (mace), paddy crop, sugarcane, bananas, and her two hands in abhaya mudra and varada mudra.

Gaja Lakshmi[edit]

Gaja Lakshmi ("Elephant Lakshmi") is the giver of animal wealth (such as cattle)[3] or the giver of power of royalty, as interpreted by Swami Chidananda.[4]

According to Hindu mythology, Gaja Lakshmi brought back the wealth lost by Indra (king of demi-gods) from the ocean.[2] Vasudha Narayanan interpreted the name as "one who is worshipped by elephants".[1]

She is depicted as four-armed, in red garments, carrying two lotuses, other two arms in abhaya mudra and varada mudra, surrounded by two elephants bathing her with water pots.

Santana Lakshmi[edit]

Santana Lakshmi & Dhairya Lakshmi

Santana Lakshmi ("Progeny Lakshmi") is the goddess of bestowing offsprings[3]

She is depicted as six-armed, carrying two kalashas (water pitcher with mango leaves and a coconut on it), sword, shield, a child on her lap, a hand in abhaya mudra and the other holding the child. The child holds a lotus.

Veera/Dhairya Lakshmi[edit]

Veera Lakshmi ("Valourous Lakshmi") or Dhairya Lakshmi ("Courage Lakshmi") is the goddess who bestows valour during battles[3] and courage plus strength for overcoming difficulties in life.[2]

She is depicted as eight-armed, in red garments, carrying a chakra, shankh, bow, arrow, trishul (or sword), a bundle of palm leaf scriptures, other two hands in abhaya mudra and varada mudra.

Jaya/Vijaya Lakshmi[edit]

Vijaya Lakshmi & Vidya Lakshmi

Vijaya Lakshmi or Jaya Lakshmi ("Victorious Lakshmi") is the goddess and the giver of victory[4], not only in battles[3] but also for conquering hurdles in order to achieve success.[2]

She is depicted as eight-armed, in red garments, carrying the chakra, shankh, sword, shield, lotus, pasha, other two hands in abhaya mudra and varada mudra.

Vidya Lakshmi[edit]

Vidya Lakshmi ("Knowledge Lakshmi") is the goddess and the bestower of knowledge of arts and sciences.[4]

Additional Forms[edit]

In some Ashta Lakshmi lists, other forms of Lakshmi are included,[citation needed]

  1. Aishwarya Lakshmi ("Prosperity Lakshmi") : Goddess of riches[3]
  2. Saubhagya Lakshmi ("Giver of good Fortune") : Giver of prosperity in general.[4]
  3. Rajya Lakshmi ("Royal Lakshmi"): "She who blesses rulers (with secular power)"[5]
  4. Vara Lakshmi ("Boon Lakshmi"): "The goddess who bestows boons".[5]

Rise and Worship[edit]

The rise in popularity of the Ashta Lakshmi can be linked with the rising popularity of the Ashta Lakshmi Strotam.

Around the 1970's, a leading Sri Vaishnava theologian, Sri U. Ve. Vidvan Mukkur Srinivasavaradacariyar Svamikal,[6] published a poem called Ashta Lakshmi Strotam dedicated to the eight Lakshmis. Narayanan comments,

“Although these attributes (which represent the wealths bestowed by the Ashta Lakshmi) of Sri (Lakshmi) can be found in traditional literature, the emergence of these eight (Ashta Lakshmi goddesses) in precisely this combination is, as far as I can discern, new.”[1]

The Ashta Lakshmi are now widely worshipped both by Sri Vaishnava and other Hindu communities in South India.[1] Occasionally, the Ashta Lakshmi are depicted together in shrines or in "framing pictures" within an overall design and are worshipped by votaries of Lakshmi who worship her in her various manifestations.[5] In addition to emergence of Ashta Lakshmi temples since the 1970s, traditional silver articles used in home worship as well as decorative jars ('Kumbha') now appear with the Ashta Lakshmi group molded on their sides.

Books, popular prayers manuals, pamphlets sold outside temples in South India; ritual worship and "a burgeoning audiocassette market" are also popularizing these eight forms of Lakshmi.[7]

Temples[edit]

Ashtalakshmi Kovil - Temple of Eight Lakshmis, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.jpg
  • Ashtalakshmi Temple, Besant Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India: The Ashta Lakshmi Kovil, built in 1974, is the first shrine dedicated exclusively to the Ashta Lakshmi where Lakshmi is given greater importance than Vishnu.[8] It has eight small shrines arranged in clockwise direction, dedicated to the Ashta Lakshmi and then a ninth shrine dedicated to Vishnu and Lakshmi together, unlike the traditional separate shrines.[9]
  • Ashtalakshmi Temple, Vasavi Colony, Dilsukh Nagar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India[10]
  • Sydney Durga Temple - The Hindu Temple, located in Regents Park, Sydney, Australia has 8 small sanctums dedicated to the Ashta Lakshmi.
  • Ashtalakshmi Temple, Sugar Land, Houston, Texas, United States[11]
  • Ashtalakshmi Temple, North Hollywood, California, United States[12]
  • At the entrance - leading from Vittavasal Street to Meenakshi Temple, Madhurai, a mandapam (Hall) called Ashta Lakshmi Mandapam is dedicated to the Ashta Lakshmi, the statues of which support the roof on either side.
  • Parashakthi Temple, Pontiac, Michigan has the deities installed there.[13]
  • Asta Lakshmi Devasthanam, Fremont, California. Address incorrect, call to find out.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Vasudha Narayanan in: John Stratton Hawley, Donna Marie Wulff p.104
  2. ^ a b c d e Parashakthi temple, Michigan. "Ashta Lakshmi". [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Flipside of Hindu Symbolism (Sociological and Scientific Linkages in Hinduism) by M. K. V. Narayan; published 2007 by Fultus Corporation; 200 pages; ISBN 1-59682-117-5; p.93
  4. ^ a b c d Swami Chidananda. "The Eightfold Lakshmi". 
  5. ^ a b c Studies in Hindu and Buddhist Art By P. K. Mishra, p. 34
  6. ^ Vasudha Narayanan in: John Stratton Hawley, Donna Marie Wulff p.108
  7. ^ Vasudha Narayanan in: John Stratton Hawley, Donna Marie Wulff p.105
  8. ^ Vasudha Narayanan in: John Stratton Hawley, Donna Marie Wulff p.109 "The effect is to cast Vishnu as the consort of Lakshmi than the other way around, as has been traditional"
  9. ^ Vasudha Narayanan in: John Stratton Hawley, Donna Marie Wulff pp.108-9
  10. ^ "Ashtalakshmi Temple, Hyderabad". My city pedia. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Official website of Ashtalakshmi Temple, Houston". Ashtalakshmi Temple, Houston. 
  12. ^ "Official website of Ashtalakshmi Temple, North Hollywood". 
  13. ^ Our Deities - Ashta Lakshmi (and Durga Mahalakshmi) - OM Shakthi - Parashakthi Temple Archived July 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-08. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Studies in Hindu and Buddhist Art By P. K. Mishra, Published 1999, Abhinav Publications,413 pages, ISBN 81-7017-368-X
  • Vasudha Narayanan in Chapter ŚRĪ: Giver of Fortune, Bestower of Grace in book Devī: Goddesses of India By John Stratton Hawley, Donna Marie Wulff ; Published 1996; University of California Press ;373 pages ;ISBN 0-520-20058-6

External links[edit]